Even before sociologists and demographers focused so much attention on splitting up society into specific generations, the older and the younger among us had our differences.
After all, people want to feel appreciated. And who would know better than those who have been around longer? It’s only natural that the older we get, the more we feel we deserve, and the most distanced we feel from younger people around us who haven’t been through any of the things we’ve been through. Have they even really lived yet? Or have they been freeloading off of all the work their parents, grandparents, and other people have done for them?
From the reverse point of view, things aren’t much different. Young people want to be respected, even if we haven’t had the opportunity to flex our muscles yet and show our worth via all the things we have to offer society. Couple that with the West’s unfortunate trend of “othering” the elderly and you start to see a rift between youthful upstarts and those who feel entitled to reap the benefits of what they believe they alone have worked for and earned.
Far too often, we’ve seen this division come to a head.
It’s easy to feel that people who appear to be different than you will never understand what you are going through presently or what you have gone through in the past. This is, sadly, our human nature: to define ourselves by our differences, by what makes us unique, rather than look for the common traits that bring us together.
Over the course of the 20th century, these perceived differences have split us apart even further. Perhaps it all began with the Great War, when sociologists and intellectuals alike began studying and commenting on the contrasts between the world’s young and old. “You are all a lost generation,” Hemingway credits his mentor Gertrude Stein as having said. Of course these wandering souls were followed by the so-called “Greatest Generation,” those who eagerly (in hindsight) gave up their lives of normalcy to fight for a bigger cause. This concept cemented the idea that these people had lived through and overcome much more than their descendants could hope to, an idea iterated time and again by the Baby Boomers to the children and young adults of today. But now, they’ve had enough of it.
“Millennials are ruining everything.” “Millennials are killing the housing market.” “Millennials are killing the restaurant industry.” “Millennials are the reason why hotels have smaller closets nowadays.” Yup, Millennials have heard it all. But one young person wasn’t going to take it any more.
In a post that’s going viral again, one Millennial decided to tackle all of the irrational complaints they’ve heard from older generations and put the misconceptions to rest. Citing their own experience, their parents’ experience, and other statistics, the viral Tumblr post is a perfect response to the claims that Millennials are to blame for all of today’s problems.
Some of their points were as follows:
“YOUR generation was the generation where two teachers could afford to buy a 4-bedroom house in San Diego, CA and then afford the mortgage and raise 2 kids in private school (my parents did this) [….]
“YOUR generation was the generation where you could wash dishes to put yourself through college and law school (my uncle did this).
“MY generation can’t buy a home when the average cost of $440k and a combined income of two teachers is only $70k, and they have to pay 35% income to rent, let alone trying to afford children [….]
“MY generation is in student debt on average $29,400. And we have scholarships but they only cover 40% of the cost and when law school costs $120k for 2 years, you do the math.”
Don’t Blame Me
“So don’t tell me that it’s MY GENERATION that[‘s] f**king things up. We’re only 25, we didn’t get in to the war in 2001 (we were 11 years old), we didn’t de-fund mental health institutions in 1975, we didn’t decide that grants and scholarships should cost more, we didn’t raise the housing market 7000% […]. MY GENERATION didn’t do any of that, YOUR generation did.
“So don’t tell me I ‘just’ need to ‘get a better job’ or that I ‘only’ have to send my kids to ‘a good school.’ Because it doesn’t work like that anymore. And don’t blame me.”
DAMN, that felt good to read. While the me vs. you mentality certainly isn’t helping anybody, this post was cathartic to say the least. Have you seen this powerful post before? The fact that it’s still going viral goes to show just how relevant it still is. Do you ever think the generations will stop feuding like this, or is it human nature for older people to think the youth are entitled and for the youth to think older people are obsolete?
SHARE this article and let us know your thoughts!